AP English Literature : Relationship Between Words

Study concepts, example questions & explanations for AP English Literature

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Example Questions

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Example Question #1 : Other Questions About Language: Drama

Adapted from Act 1, Scene 1, ln. 78-119 of The Tragical History of Dr. Faustus by Christopher Marlowe (1604) in Vol. XIX, Part 2 of The Harvard Classics (1909-1914)

 

FAUSTUS: How am I glutted with conceit of this!

Shall I make spirits fetch me what I please,

Resolve me of all ambiguities,

Perform what desperate enterprise I will?

I’ll have them fly to India for gold,

Ransack the ocean for orient pearl,

And search all corners of the new-found world

For pleasant fruits and princely delicates;

I’ll have them read me strange philosophy

And tell the secrets of all foreign kings;

I’ll have them wall all Germany with brass,

And make swift Rhine circle fair Wittenberg;

I’ll have them fill the public schools with silk,

Wherewith the students shall be bravely clad;

I’ll levy soldiers with the coin they bring,

And chase the Prince of Parma from our land,

And reign sole king of all the provinces;

Yea, stranger engines for the brunt of war

Than was the fiery keel at Antwerp’s bridge,

I’ll make my servile spirits to invent.

[Enter VALDES and CORNELIUS]

Come, German Valdes and Cornelius,

And make me blest with your sage conference.

Valdes, sweet Valdes, and Cornelius,

Know that your words have won me at the last

To practice magic and concealed arts:

Yet not your words only, but mine own fantasy

That will receive no object, for my head

But ruminates on necromantic skill.

Philosophy is odious and obscure,

Both law and physic are for petty wits;

Divinity is basest of the three,

Unpleasant, harsh, contemptible, and vile:

’Tis magic, magic, that hath ravish’d me.

Then, gentle friends, aid me in this attempt;

And I that have with concise syllogisms

Gravell’d the pastors of the German church,

And made the flowering pride of Wittenberg

Swarm to my problems, as the infernal spirits

On sweet Musaeigus, when he came to hell,

Will be as cunning as Agrippa was,

Whose shadows made all Europe honor him.

In context, the underlined and bolded phrase "sage conference" most closely means which of the following?

Possible Answers:

Moral instruction

A meeting of wise people

Wise advice

Career advice

A meeting of occult practitioners

Correct answer:

Wise advice

Explanation:

In this context, the phrase "sage conference" most closely means "wise advice." In this context, "conference" refers to a discussion rather than a meeting or gathering. The phrase "make me blest with your sage conference" suggests that the "sage conference" is a good thing, and the phrase's use of "your" suggests that it is something being dispensed by Valdes and Cornelius, namely advice. The use of "conference" suggests a two-way conversation rather than direct "instruction."

Example Question #1 : Relationship Between Words

Adapted from “The Habit of Perfection” in Poems by Gerard Manley Hopkins (1919)

 

Elected silence, sing to me

And beat upon my whorlèd ear,

Pipe me to pastures still and be

The music that I care to hear.

 

Shape nothing, lips; be lovely-dumb:

It is the shut, the curfew sent

From there where all surrenders come

Which only makes you eloquent.

 

Be shellèd, eyes, with double dark

And find the uncreated light:

This ruck and reel which you remark

Coils, keeps, and teases simple sight.

 

Palate, the hutch of tasty lust,

Desire not to be rinsed with wine:

The can must be so sweet, the crust

So fresh that come in fasts divine!

 

Nostrils, your careless breath that spend

Upon the stir and keep of pride,

What relish shall the censers send

Along the sanctuary side!

 

O feel-of-primrose hands, O feet

That want the yield of plushy sward,

But you shall walk the golden street

And you unhouse and house the Lord.

 

And, Poverty, be thou the bride

And now the marriage feast begun,

And lily-colored clothes provide

Your spouse not labored-at nor spun.

Which of the following might well describe the style of each stanza and their interrelationships, paying particular attention to how each one begins?

Possible Answers:

Litany

Lament

Panegyric

Elegy

Bombast

Correct answer:

Litany

Explanation:

This question is not primarily about poem style, though it is related to that. Clearly, the poem cannot be described as a death-related elegy or as a panegyric praising something. The overall effect of the poem's stanzaic structure is to give the reader the sense of one thing after another being listed—each of the senses: silence, lips, eyes, palate, etc. A litany is a repetitive series of things, often with a religious connotation, but that is not important for this question (though the poem has religious overtones). Though a litany is often even more repetitive than this, the overall structure has this kind of repetition: "Lips be quiet; eyes be closed; palate be clear of things; etc." Another way to see this (emphasizing the repetition) would be "lips, do not be used; eyes, do not be used; palate, do not be used; etc."

Example Question #2 : Relationship Between Words

Adapted from Andrea del Sarto by Robert Browning, ln.60-119 (1853)

I can do with my pencil what I know, 
What I see, what at bottom of my heart 
I wish for, if I ever wish so deep— 
Do easily, too—when I say, perfectly, 
I do not boast, perhaps: yourself are judge, 
Who listened to the Legate's talk last week, 
And just as much they used to say in France. 
At any rate 'tis easy, all of it! 
No sketches first, no studies, that's long past: 
I do what many dream of, all their lives,
—Dream? strive to do, and agonize to do, 
And fail in doing. I could count twenty such 
On twice your fingers, and not leave this town, 
Who strive—you don't know how the others strive 
To paint a little thing like that you smeared 
Carelessly passing with your robes afloat,— 
Yet do much less, so much less, Someone says, 
(I know his name, no matter)—so much less! 
Well, less is more, Lucrezia: I am judged. 
There burns a truer light of God in them, 
In their vexed beating stuffed and stopped-up brain, 
Heart, or whate'er else, than goes on to prompt 
This low-pulsed forthright craftsman's hand of mine. 
Their works drop groundward, but themselves, I know, 
Reach many a time a heaven that's shut to me, 
Enter and take their place there sure enough, 
Though they come back and cannot tell the world. 
My works are nearer heaven, but I sit here.
The sudden blood of these men! at a word— 
Praise them, it boils, or blame them, it boils too. 
I, painting from myself and to myself, 
Know what I do, am unmoved by men's blame 
Or their praise either. Somebody remarks 
Morello's outline there is wrongly traced, 
His hue mistaken; what of that? or else, 
Rightly traced and well ordered; what of that? 
Speak as they please, what does the mountain care? 
Ah, but a man's reach should exceed his grasp, 
Or what's a heaven for? All is silver-grey, 
Placid and perfect with my art: the worse! 
I know both what I want and what might gain, 
And yet how profitless to know, to sigh 
"Had I been two, another and myself, 
"Our head would have o'erlooked the world!" No doubt. 
Yonder's a work now, of that famous youth 
The Urbinate who died five years ago. 
('Tis copied, George Vasari sent it me.) 
Well, I can fancy how he did it all, 
Pouring his soul, with kings and popes to see, 
Reaching, that heaven might so replenish him, 
Above and through his art—for it gives way; 
That arm is wrongly put—and there again— 
A fault to pardon in the drawing's lines, 
Its body, so to speak: its soul is right, 
He means right—that, a child may understand. 
Still, what an arm! and I could alter it: 
But all the play, the insight and the stretch— 
Out of me, out of me! And wherefore out? 
Had you enjoined them on me, given me soul, 
We might have risen to Rafael, I and you!

In the underlined and bolded line, the terms "body" and "soul" are used as metaphors for which of the following?

Possible Answers:

The painting's accuracy in representing the physical reality of its subject versus its success in capturing its subject's inner existence

The narrator's everyday needs versus his artistic strivings

The subject's lack of physical beauty versus the strength of his character as represented in the painting

The earthiness of the painter's subject matter versus the sublimity of his intentions

The physical beauty of the painter's wife Lucrezia versus her materialistic nature

Correct answer:

The painting's accuracy in representing the physical reality of its subject versus its success in capturing its subject's inner existence

Explanation:

The painter's clumsiness in representing the subject's arm is what prompts the narrator to mention "the drawing's lines / /Its body, so to speak"—of which he is critical. At the same time, he acknowledges that the artist "means right"—that he has somehow captured something beyond the physical, which he calls the painting's "soul."

Example Question #3 : Relationship Between Words

Adapted from Othello by William Shakespeare (1604)

 

IAGO: Three great ones of the city,                                                  

In personal suit to make me his lieutenant,

Off-capp'd to him: and, by the faith of man,

I know my price, I am worth no worse a place:

But he; as loving his own pride and purposes,

Evades them, with a bombast circumstance

Horribly stuff'd with epithets of war;

And, in conclusion,

Nonsuits my mediators; for, 'Certes,' says he,

'I have already chose my officer.'

And what was he?

Forsooth, a great arithmetician,

One Michael Cassio, a Florentine,

A fellow almost damn'd in a fair wife;

That never set a squadron in the field,

Nor the division of a battle knows

More than a spinster; unless the bookish theoric,

Wherein the toga’d consuls can propose

As masterly as he: mere prattle, without practise,

Is all his soldiership. But he, sir, had the election:

And I, of whom his eyes had seen the proof

At Rhodes, at Cyprus and on other grounds

Christian and heathen, must be be-lee'd and calm'd

By debitor and creditor: this counter-caster,

He, in good time, must his lieutenant be,

And I—God bless the mark!—his Moorship's ancient.

In line 9, the phrase “my mediators” refers to which of the underlined and bolded phrases?

I. “Three great ones of the city”

II. “One Michael Cassio”

III. “His Moorship”

Possible Answers:

I, II, and III

I and II only

II only

II and III only

I only

Correct answer:

I only

Explanation:

The correct answer is I only. “My mediators” refers to the interlocutors who intervened unsuccessfully on the speaker’s (Iago’s) behalf to help him obtain the position of Lieutenant. “One Michael Cassio” refers to the officer who was made Lieutenant instead of the speaker. The speaker is upset that he has not been chosen; he uses the derogatory title “His Moorship” to refer to the general who has granted the position of Lieutenant to Cassio instead of the speaker. 

Example Question #67 : Interpreting Words

From The Red Badge of Courage by Stephen Crane (1875)

After complicated journeyings with many pauses, there had come months of monotonous life in a camp. He had had the belief that real war was a series of death struggles with small time in between for sleep and meals; but since his regiment had come to the field the army had done little but sit still and try to keep warm.

He was brought then gradually back to his old ideas. Greek-like struggles would be no more. Men were better, or more timid. Secular and religious education had effaced the throat-grappling instinct, or else firm finance held in check the passions.

He had grown to regard himself merely as a part of a vast blue demonstration. His province was to look out, as far as he could, for his personal comfort. For recreation he could twiddle his thumbs and speculate on the thoughts which must agitate the minds of the generals. Also, he was drilled and drilled and reviewed, and drilled and drilled and reviewed.

The only foes he had seen were some pickets along the river bank. They were a sun-tanned, philosophical lot, who sometimes shot reflectively at the blue pickets. When reproached for this afterward, they usually expressed sorrow, and swore by their gods that the guns had exploded without their permission. The youth, on guard duty one night, conversed across the stream with one of them. He was a slightly ragged man, who spat skillfully between his shoes and possessed a great fund of bland and infantile assurance. The youth liked him personally.

"Yank," the other had informed him, "yer a right dum good feller." This sentiment, floating to him upon the still air, had made him temporarily regret war.

Various veterans had told him tales. Some talked of gray, bewhiskered hordes who were advancing with relentless curses and chewing tobacco with unspeakable valor; tremendous bodies of fierce soldiery who were sweeping along like the Huns. Others spoke of tattered and eternally hungry men who fired despondent powders. "They'll charge through hell's fire an' brimstone t' git a holt on a haversack, an' sech stomachs ain't a'lastin' long," he was told. From the stories, the youth imagined the red, live bones sticking out through slits in the faded uniforms.

Still, he could not put a whole faith in veteran's tales, for recruits were their prey. They talked much of smoke, fire, and blood, but he could not tell how much might be lies. They persistently yelled "Fresh fish!" at him, and were in no wise to be trusted.

However, he perceived now that it did not greatly matter what kind of soldiers he was going to fight, so long as they fought, which fact no one disputed. There was a more serious problem. He lay in his bunk pondering upon it. He tried to mathematically prove to himself that he would not run from a battle.

Previously he had never felt obliged to wrestle too seriously with this question. In his life he had taken certain things for granted, never challenging his belief in ultimate success, and bothering little about means and roads. But here he was confronted with a thing of moment. It had suddenly appeared to him that perhaps in a battle he might run. He was forced to admit that as far as war was concerned he knew nothing of himself.

A sufficient time before he would have allowed the problem to kick its heels at the outer portals of his mind, but now he felt compelled to give serious attention to it.

Which of the following words, taken from the underlined selection, best explains the author's choice of the word "hordes" used in that selection?

Possible Answers:

"Huns"

"valor"

"bewhiskered"

"fierce"

"curses"

Correct answer:

"Huns"

Explanation:

For this question, you need to have a slight amount of historical knowledge in order to pick up on the allusion being made. The Huns were a people who migrated over Europe thousands of years ago, traveling as a large horde over the lands. The soldiers described as being a "horde" also are described as fighting like Huns. Both of these words "work together" to create the single image of these fighting people, roving over the landscape in their war-related exploits.

Example Question #4 : Relationship Between Words

From The Red Badge of Courage by Stephen Crane (1875)

After complicated journeyings with many pauses, there had come months of monotonous life in a camp. He had had the belief that real war was a series of death struggles with small time in between for sleep and meals; but since his regiment had come to the field the army had done little but sit still and try to keep warm.

He was brought then gradually back to his old ideas. Greek-like struggles would be no more. Men were better, or more timid. Secular and religious education had effaced the throat-grappling instinct, or else firm finance held in check the passions.

He had grown to regard himself merely as a part of a vast blue demonstration. His province was to look out, as far as he could, for his personal comfort. For recreation he could twiddle his thumbs and speculate on the thoughts which must agitate the minds of the generals. Also, he was drilled and drilled and reviewed, and drilled and drilled and reviewed.

The only foes he had seen were some pickets along the river bank. They were a sun-tanned, philosophical lot, who sometimes shot reflectively at the blue pickets. When reproached for this afterward, they usually expressed sorrow, and swore by their gods that the guns had exploded without their permission. The youth, on guard duty one night, conversed across the stream with one of them. He was a slightly ragged man, who spat skillfully between his shoes and possessed a great fund of bland and infantile assurance. The youth liked him personally.

"Yank," the other had informed him, "yer a right dum good feller." This sentiment, floating to him upon the still air, had made him temporarily regret war.

Various veterans had told him tales. Some talked of gray, bewhiskered hordes who were advancing with relentless curses and chewing tobacco with unspeakable valor; tremendous bodies of fierce soldiery who were sweeping along like the Huns. Others spoke of tattered and eternally hungry men who fired despondent powders. "They'll charge through hell's fire an' brimstone t' git a holt on a haversack, an' sech stomachs ain't a'lastin' long," he was told. From the stories, the youth imagined the red, live bones sticking out through slits in the faded uniforms.

Still, he could not put a whole faith in veteran's tales, for recruits were their prey. They talked much of smoke, fire, and blood, but he could not tell how much might be lies. They persistently yelled "Fresh fish!" at him, and were in no wise to be trusted.

However, he perceived now that it did not greatly matter what kind of soldiers he was going to fight, so long as they fought, which fact no one disputed. There was a more serious problem. He lay in his bunk pondering upon it. He tried to mathematically prove to himself that he would not run from a battle.

Previously he had never felt obliged to wrestle too seriously with this question. In his life he had taken certain things for granted, never challenging his belief in ultimate success, and bothering little about means and roads. But here he was confronted with a thing of moment. It had suddenly appeared to him that perhaps in a battle he might run. He was forced to admit that as far as war was concerned he knew nothing of himself.

A sufficient time before he would have allowed the problem to kick its heels at the outer portals of his mind, but now he felt compelled to give serious attention to it.

Which of the following is implicated when the narrator uses the adjective "philosophical" in the underlined sentence?

Possible Answers:

The intelligence of the soldiers

The calm of the soldiers

The firing patterns of the soldiers

The prejudices of the soldiers

The vivacity of the soldiers

Correct answer:

The firing patterns of the soldiers

Explanation:

These words are chosen a bit whimsically. Rarely are soldiers called "philosophical". However, in this selection, they are being so called because of the way that they fire their guns. They only do so occasionally, as though they are thinking out some kind of plan—hence, occasionally firing in a manner also called "reflective" in this selection. However, they don't really admit even to firing—they swear that their "guns had exploded without their permission."

Example Question #5 : Relationship Between Words

Adapted from A Tale of Two Cities by Charles Dickens (1859)

It was the best of times, it was the worst of times, it was the age of wisdom, it was the age of foolishness, it was the epoch of belief, it was the epoch of incredulity, it was the season of Light, it was the season of Darkness, it was the spring of hope, it was the winter of despair, we had everything before us, we had nothing before us, we were all going direct to Heaven, we were all going direct the other way—in short, the period was so far like the present period, that some of its noisiest authorities insisted on its being received, for good or for evil, in the superlative degree of comparison only.

There were a king with a large jaw and a queen with a plain face, on the throne of England; there were a king with a large jaw and a queen with a fair face, on the throne of France. In both countries it was clearer than crystal to the lords of the State preserves of loaves and fishes, that things in general were settled for ever.

France, less favored on the whole as to matters spiritual than her sister of the shield and trident, rolled with exceeding smoothness down hill, making paper money and spending it. Under the guidance of her Christian pastors, she entertained herself, besides, with such humane achievements as sentencing a youth to have his hands cut off, his tongue torn out with pincers, and his body burned alive, because he had not kneeled down in the rain to do honor to a dirty procession of monks which passed within his view, at a distance of some fifty or sixty yards. It is likely enough that, rooted in the woods of France and Norway, there were growing trees, when that sufferer was put to death, already marked by the Woodman, Fate, to come down and be sawn into boards, to make a certain movable framework with a sack and a knife in it, terrible in history. It is likely enough that in the rough outhouses of some tillers of the heavy lands adjacent to Paris, there were sheltered from the weather that very day, rude carts, bespattered with rustic mire, snuffed about by pigs, and roosted in by poultry, which the Farmer, Death, had already set apart to be his tumbrils of the Revolution. But, that Woodman and that Farmer, though they work unceasingly, work silently, and no one heard them as they went about with muffled tread: the rather, forasmuch as to entertain any suspicion that they were awake, was to be atheistical and traitorous.

In England, there was scarcely an amount of order and protection to justify much national boasting. Daring burglaries by armed men, and highway robberies, took place in the capital itself every night; families were publicly cautioned not to go out of town without removing their furniture to upholsterers' warehouses for security; the highwayman in the dark was a City tradesman in the light, and, being recognized and challenged by his fellow-tradesman whom he stopped in his character of "the Captain," gallantly shot him through the head and rode away; the mail was waylaid by seven robbers, and the guard shot three dead, and then got shot dead himself by the other four, "in consequence of the failure of his ammunition": after which the mail was robbed in peace; that magnificent potentate, the Lord Mayor of London, was made to stand and deliver on Turnham Green, by one highwayman, who despoiled the illustrious creature in sight of all his retinue; prisoners in London gaols fought battles with their turnkeys, and the majesty of the law fired blunderbusses in among them, loaded with rounds of shot and ball; thieves snipped off diamond crosses from the necks of noble lords at Court drawing rooms; musketeers went into St Giles's, to search for contraband goods, and the mob fired on the musketeers, and the musketeers fired on the mob; and nobody thought any of these occurrences much out of the common way. In the midst of them, the hangman, ever busy and ever worse than useless, was in constant requisition; now, stringing up long rows of miscellaneous criminals; now, hanging a housebreaker on Saturday who had been taken on Tuesday; now, burning people in the hand at Newgate by the dozen, and now burning pamphlets at the door of Westminster Hall; to-day, taking the life of an atrocious murderer, and tomorrow of a wretched pilferer who had robbed a farmer's boy of sixpence.

The combination of the words "busy" and "useless" in the underlined phrase "ever busy and ever worse than useless" in the fourth paragraph creates a sense of __________ surrounding the hangman's actions.

 

Possible Answers:

gravity

irony

necessity

justice

levity

Correct answer:

irony

Explanation:

The hangman is busy with his work, but it is ironic that this work actually serves no real purpose in stemming the rampant crimes in England.

Example Question #1 : Other Questions About Language: Drama

Adapted from Richard III by William Shakespeare, I.i.1-42

Now is the winter of our discontent
Made glorious summer by this sun of York;
And all the clouds that lour'd upon our house
In the deep bosom of the ocean buried.
Now are our brows bound with victorious wreaths;
Our bruised arms hung up for monuments;
Our stern alarums changed to merry meetings,
Our dreadful marches to delightful measures.
Grim-visaged war hath smooth'd his wrinkled front;
And now, instead of mounting barded steeds
To fright the souls of fearful adversaries,
He capers nimbly in a lady's chamber
To the lascivious pleasing of a lute.
But I, that am not shaped for sportive tricks,
Nor made to court an amorous looking-glass;
I, that am rudely stamp'd, and want love's majesty
To strut before a wanton ambling nymph;
I, that am curtail'd of this fair proportion,
Cheated of feature by dissembling nature,
Deformed, unfinish'd, sent before my time
Into this breathing world, scarce half made up,
And that so lamely and unfashionable
That dogs bark at me as I halt by them;
Why, I, in this weak piping time of peace,
Have no delight to pass away the time,
Unless to spy my shadow in the sun
And descant on mine own deformity:
And therefore, since I cannot prove a lover,
To entertain these fair well-spoken days,
I am determined to prove a villain
And hate the idle pleasures of these days.
Plots have I laid, inductions dangerous,
By drunken prophecies, libels and dreams,
To set my brother Clarence and the king
In deadly hate the one against the other:
And if King Edward be as true and just
As I am subtle, false and treacherous,
This day should Clarence closely be mew'd up,
About a prophecy, which says that 'G'
Of Edward's heirs the murderer shall be.
Dive, thoughts, down to my soul: here
Clarence comes.

The underlined word "ambling" can be read as most directly contrasting with which of the following words or excerpts?

Possible Answers:

"strut" (line 17)

"descant" (line 27)

"Deformed" (line 20)

"halt" (line 23)

"capers" (line 12)

Correct answer:

"halt" (line 23)

Explanation:

The underlined "ambling" appears in line 17, as part of the phrase begun in the previous line, "I, that am rudely stamp'd, and want love's majesty / To strut before a wanton ambling nymph." What is the narrator saying here? He is describing himself as being "rudely stamped" and "wanting" (lacking) "love's majesty," which is required "to strut" in front of women—"a wanton ambling nymph." Here, "wanton" means sexually indecent and "nymph" is being used to imply that the woman is beautiful by hearkening back to a spirit of nature present in classical mythology. What is "ambling" doing in this description? "Ambling" means strolling along casually. In looking for the word that most directly contrasts with "ambling," we need to keep this in mind.

Let's consider our answer choices. "Strut" may look like the most likely answer because it is closest to "ambling" in the passage, part of the same line. However, "strut" means walk in an affected, proud manner and doesn't seem that much different from "ambling." Keep it in mind as potentially correct and consider the other answers. "Capers" hits a similar difficulty, meaning dance or cavort; "descant" means talk about something for a long time—perhaps contrasting with "ambling" in the sense of movement being contrasted with speech? This is a relatively abstract and indirect comparison, though. "Deformed" is being used as an adjective, so it means shaped in a way unlike the expected norm.

"Deformed" may look like the correct answer; as the nymph is "ambling," the speaker is "deformed," implying that he cannot amble. Another answer gets at this difference more directly by referring to the way in which the user moves: "halt." "Halt" in this case means limp. Aha—whereas the nymph is "ambling," the user "halts." This is the best answer choice.

 

Example Question #6 : Relationship Between Words

Adapted from "Sonnet 73" by William Shakespeare

 

That time of year thou mayst in me behold

When yellow leaves, or none, or few, do hang

Upon those boughs which shake against the cold,

Bare ruin'd choirs, where late the sweet birds sang.

In me thou seest the twilight of such day

As after sunset fadeth in the west,

Which by and by black night doth take away,

Death's second self, that seals up all in rest.

In me thou see'st the glowing of such fire

That on the ashes of his youth doth lie,

As the death-bed whereon it must expire

Consumed with that which it was nourish'd by.

This thou perceivest, which makes thy love more strong,

To love that well which thou must leave ere long.

Which of the following is being referred to by the bolded and underlined abstract phrase “Death’s second self”?

Possible Answers:

“Twilight” (line 5)

“Bare ruin’d choirs (line 4)

“The glowing of such fire” (line 9)

“Ashes of his youth” (line 10)

“Black night” (line 7)

Correct answer:

“Black night” (line 7)

Explanation:

If the various times of day in the poem (twilight, sunset, night) can be read as stages of life, night is logically parallel to death. “Death’s second self” refers to “Black night” (line 7). The two phrases are both grammatically and thematically joined. Night is likened to death; like death, it puts the world to sleep (“Seals up all in rest”). While “Twilight,” “Ashes of his youth,” and “Bare ruin’d choirs” also suggest aging and decline, they are presented more as intermediaries on the way to death than as representative of death itself. 

Example Question #7 : Relationship Between Words

Adapted from "The Mouse’s Petition" in Poems by Anna Letitia Barbauld (1773)


Found in the trap where he had been confined all night by Dr. Priestley, for the sake of making experiments with different kinds of air

“To spare the humbled, and to tame in war the proud.” - Virgil

 

OH! hear a pensive captive's prayer,
For liberty that sighs;
And never let thine heart be shut
Against the prisoner's cries.

For here forlorn and sad I sit,

Within the wiry grate;
And tremble at th' approaching morn,

Which brings impending fate.

If e'er thy breast with freedom glow'd,
And spurn'd a tyrant's chain,
Let not thy strong oppressive force
A free-born mouse detain.

Oh! do not stain with guiltless blood
Thy hospitable hearth;
Nor triumph that thy wiles betray'd
A prize so little worth.

The scatter'd gleanings of a feast
My scanty meals supply;
But if thine unrelenting heart
That slender boon deny,

The cheerful light, the vital air,
Are blessings widely given;
Let nature's commoners enjoy
The common gifts of heaven.

The well-taught philosophic mind
To all compassion gives;
Casts round the world an equal eye,
And feels for all that lives.

If mind, as ancient sages taught,
A never dying flame,
Still shifts thro' matter's varying forms,
In every form the same,

Beware, lest in the worm you crush
A brother's soul you find;
And tremble lest thy luckless hand
Dislodge a kindred mind.

Or, if this transient gleam of day
Be all of life we share,
Let pity plead within thy breast,
That little all to spare.

So may thy hospitable board
With health and peace be crown'd;
And every charm of heartfelt ease
Beneath thy roof be found.

So when unseen destruction lurks,
Which men like mice may share,
May some kind angel clear thy path,
And break the hidden snare.

In the underlined lines, "to all compassion gives" most closely means which of the following?

Possible Answers:

The "well-taught philosophic mind" gives all of its consideration to compassion.

"The well-taught mind" is consumed by passion.

The "well-taught philosophic mind" gives in to every compassionate impulse.

The "well-taught philosophic mind" is compassionate towards everyone.

All philosophers are, by their very nature, compassionate.

Correct answer:

The "well-taught philosophic mind" is compassionate towards everyone.

Explanation:

In this context, "The well-taught philosophic mind / to all compassion gives" most closely means that such a mind is compassionate towards everyone. "All" in this context refers to all sentient beings, not the compassion. While it stands to reason that the speaker would think that all good philosophers would be, by nature, compassionate, not all philosophers are held to be good, and not all "well-taught philosophic mind[s]" are philosophers by trade.

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